China’s Ganfeng Lithium (SHE: 002460) is expanding its presence in Africa after inaugurating its first lithium processing facility in Nigeria.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the new plant that will employ thousands of locals upon completion, valued at approximately US$250 million.
Once constructed and fully operational, the plant is expected to be capable of processing 18,000 tons of lithium per day and 4.5 million tons per annum. The ceremony in Nigeria’s state of Nasarawa was led by the state’s Governor Abdullahi A. Sule along with Ganfeng’s President Pan Quen, additional company members and other local government officials.
“Rest assured, this administration will provide all the necessary support to make this factory a reality. It is without a doubt, a marketable and profitable venture. This will result in mutual benefits for the community, the state and the entire country,” said Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Dele Alake, who was in attendance representing the country’s president.
Sule was greeted by hundreds of locals on his way to the ceremony showing their support for both the lithium plant and his leadership in the state.
“I strongly believe that with the construction of the lithium factory here in Nasarawa State, more Chinese stakeholders will invest in Nigeria, which would help to boost the economy of the nation,” said Quen.
Ganfeng is a major player in the global lithium industry
Earlier this week, Ganfeng closed its lithium exploration venture in Xinjiang, China over a lack of suitable projects to develop.
In another recent development, the President of Mexico’s Mining Chamber Jaime Gutierrez said the country attempted to revoke nine lithium concessions owned by the company in the country last month to tighten domestic control of its reserves. However, it was unsuccessful due to the concessions being granted to Ganfeng prior to lithium nationalization measures implemented by Mexico last year.
“I do not believe it is possible to cancel concessions under the law. Concessions granted before the lithium nationalization should not be altered, as the law is not retroactive,” said Gutierrez.
Ganfeng Lithium was established in 2000 and is one of the world’s top lithium companies. It became the first publicly listed lithium company in China in 2010 and later signed supply and cooperation agreements with major companies like LG Chem (KRX: 051910), Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR: BMW) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) in 2018.
Ganfeng shares dropped by 2 per cent Friday to C$8.83 on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and have steadily declined by almost 39 per cent in the past year.